The Battle of the Boutiques

Glasgow Uni students love a vintage look; 90s mom jeans, grandad cardigans and brightly-coloured 80s rain jackets can be found in abundance amongst the West End population, and Glasgow Vintage Company and Starry Starry Night are popular haunts for anyone looking for something old with which to create a new look. But, as students, everyone’s also on a pretty tight budget, and we all want to make less money stretch to more stuff. For the fashion-conscious but cash-strapped, charity shops are a lifesaver, a source of endless weird and wonderful garments from bygone eras, usually for under a fiver.

Yet for all their power as sources of strong looks on a budget, charity shops don’t seem to have the same cool status as vintage. In my sixth form there was an unspoken rule that if someone complemented an item of your clothing found in your local charity shop, you’d reply, ‘Thanks, its vintage!’ Despite living in a small market town absolutely full of charity shops, and despite half the year shopping in them, you still didn’t admit to it. Which makes very little sense, as charity and vintage shops are essentially selling the same thing – old, pre-owned clothes – only in one they’re much cheaper. Granted, they’re also a little more covertly hidden amongst M&S cardigans and knee length tartan skirts reminiscent of your Granny (but also of glam punk Vivienne Westwood vibes if you style them right) but hunting through questionable 80s garments is arguably part of the fun.

I worked in a charity shop in my hometown for a while, and we actually had deals with local vintage companies where we would bag up anything that seemed like their vibe – fur coats, 50s leather purses, that kind of thing – and they’d come along every month and buy anything they liked to sell on. The higher price tag on vintage clothes is essentially just paying someone else to do your charity shopping for you – which, on a student budget, is a mark-up I’m pretty keen to cut out. So, if you’re looking to work the ‘I put together a whole new wardrobe for uni, generally for about £2 per item’ look, I can highly recommend the charity shops on Byres road for cool, unusual and incredibly cheap additions to your S/S 2016 wardrobe.

[Clare Patterson – @clurrpatterson]

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